Elements of Public Policy


The governmental action of any nation can be understood in terms of several basic elements of public policy. Many factors, or inputs, influence the development of public policy. Government may determine its course of action on the basis of economic or foreign policy concerns, domestic political pressure from constituents and interest groups, technical information, and ideas that have emerged in national politics. Public policy also may be influenced by technical studies of complex issues such as taxation or the development of new technologies such as fiber optic electronics. All of these inputs can help shape what the government chooses to do and how it chooses to do it.

Public policy goals can be noble and high-minded or narrow and self-serving. National values, such as freedom, democracy, and equal opportunity for citizens to share in economic prosperity—that is, high-minded public policy goals—have led to the adoption of civil rights laws assistance programs for those in need. Narrow, self-serving goals are more evident when nations decide how tax legislation will allocate the burden of taxes among various interests and income groups. Public policy goals may vary widely, but it is always important to inquire: what public goals are being served by this action?

Governments use different public policy tools, or instruments, to achieve their policy goals. In general, the instruments of public policy are those combinations of incentives and penalties that government uses to prompt citizens, including businesses, to act in ways that achieve policy goals. Governmental regulatory powers are broad and constitute one of the most formidable instruments for accomplishing public purposes.

Public policy actions always have effects. Some are intended, others are unintended. Because public policies affect many people, organizations, and other interests, it is almost inevitable that such actions will please some and displease others. Regulations may cause businesses to improve the way toxic substances are used in the workplace, thus reducing health risks to employees. Yet it is possible that other goals may be obstructed as an unintended effect of compliance with such regulations.

In assessing any public policy, it is important for managers to develop answers to four questions:

  • What inputs will affect the public policy?
  • What goals are to be achieved?
  • What instruments are being used to achieve goals?
  • What effects, intended and unintended, are likely to occur?

The answers to these questions provide a foundation for understanding how any nation’s public policy actions will affect the economy and business sector.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Executive Recruitment


The value of understanding individual personality strengths and developmental areas through the assistance of personality assessment inventories has been especially important in choosing business leaders and senior executives. Executives search firms have long valued the importance of choosing not only the most intelligent candidate with a strategic business sense and proven experience, but one who also possessed the necessary personality traits and leadership competences to operate effectively within an organization’s culture. It was, and is, accepted knowledge that personality plays a critical role in the cultural fit of an incoming senior executive into a new organization. Consideration of personality traits takes on even greater importance when an executive is being chosen to change the direction or culture of the organization.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Public Relations (PR)


Public Relations is the management function that evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance. In other words a good public relations program has three steps:

  1. Listen to the public: Public relations starts with good marketing research (evaluates public attitudes).
  2. Develops policies and procedures that are in the public interest: One does not earn understanding by bombarding the public with propaganda; one earns understanding by having programs and practices in the public interest.
  3. Inform people of the fact that you are being responsive to their needs: It is not enough to simply have programs that are in the public interest. You have to tell the public about those programs so that they know you are being responsive.

Publicity is one of the major functions of the public relations department. Publicity is any information about an individual, a product, or an organization that is distributed to the public through the media and that is not paid for, or controlled by, the sponsor.

Other activities include:

  • Establishing contact with civic groups, consumer organizations, and other concerned citizens to learn their views of the organization, to answer their questions, and to provide information (or education).
  • Opening lines of communication with customers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, stockholders, government agencies, educators, and community leaders.
  • Conducting studies to find the economic, environmental, and social consequences of organizational practices and to learn how to make a more positive contribution to customers, stakeholders, and society.
  • Providing any assistance needed to adjust the goals, policies, practices, personnel policies, products, and programs of the organization to meet the needs of changing markets.
  • Assisting all members of the firm in developing effective programs of consumer information and education.
  • Sending speakers to schools, clubs, and other such groups to maintain an open dialogue with students and other socially active members of society.
  • Creating incentives for employees to participate in public-affairs activities such as raising funds for charitable groups.
  • Answering consumer and other complaints promptly and correcting whatever it was that caused the complint.
  • Training employees or volunteers to provide prompt, friendly, courteous, and helpful service to anyone who contacts the organization in person, by phone, or written correspondence.
  • Demonstrating to society the organization is listening, reacting, adjusting, and progressing in its attempt to satisfy its diverse publics.
  • Opening two-way communications with employees to generate favorable employee opinion and to motivate employees to speak well of the organization to others.

This is an incomplete description of all the activities and responsibilities of the PR people, but it at least gives some feeling for what they do.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Reducing Job Stress


There are a number of ways to alleviate stress. These range from commonsense remedies (such as getting more sleep and eating better) to more exotic remedies like biofeedback and meditation. Finding a more suitable job, getting counseling, and planning and organizing each day’s activities are other sensible responses. In his book, Stress and Manager, Dr Karl Albrecht suggests the following ways to reduce job stress:

  • Build rewarding, pleasant, cooperative relationships with colleagues and employees.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Build an especially effective and supportive relationship with your boss.
  • Negotiate with your boss for realistic deadlines on important projects.
  • Learn as much as you can about upcoming events and get as much lead time as you can to prepare for them.
  • Find time every day for detachment and relaxation.
  • Take a walk around the office to keep your body refreshed and alert.
  • Find ways to reduce unnecessary noise.
  • Reduce the amount of trivia in your job; delegate routine work whenever possible.
  • Limit interruptions.
  • Don’t put off dealing with dissatisfied problems.
  • Make a constructive “worry list” that includes solutions for each problem.

The employer and its HR specialists and supervisors can also play a role in identifying and reducing job stress. Supportive supervisors and fair treatment are two obvious steps. Other steps include:

  • Reduce personal conflicts on the job.
  • Have open communication between management and employees.
  • Support employees’ efforts, for instance, by regularly asking how they are doing.
  • Ensure effective job-person fit, since a mistake can trigger stress.
  • Give employees more control over their jobs.
  • Provide employee assistance programs including professional counseling.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Unfair Competition


Where government-owned companies compete with privately owned companies, the private companies sometimes complain that the government companies have unfair advantages. Some of the complaints are 1) government-owned companies can cut prices unfairly because they do not have to make profits; 2) they get cheaper financing; 3) they get government contracts; 4) they get export assistance; and 5) they can hold down wages with government assistance.

Another huge advantage state-owned companies have over privately owned business concerns in the form of direct subsidies, payments by the government to their companies.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Transformation into an Enterprise Colony


Modern corporations need to transform themselves into enterprise colonies that can tap, build and realize the entrepreneurial potential within their people. Companies should provide venture teams with development capital, marketing assistance and central services in return for an appropriate equity stake in new initiatives.

Empowerment and delegation are being championed in many companies. But empowerment to do what, and delegation for what purpose? General drives need to be matched with specific steps to promote enterprise and build entrepreneurial qualities.

Confident companies encourage people to better understand their inner selves, and take advantage of their unique qualities and distinctive strengths:

  • They invite suggestions for new ways of exploiting corporate capabilities, and building and delivering value to customers.
  • They stimulate diversity, establish working environments that are conducive of reflection, and introduce ways of working and learning that raise spirits and fire the imagination.
  • They encourage the creation, packaging, sharing, application and exploitation of new knowledge and understanding.
  • They are also prepared to share rewards with those primarily responsible for successful entrepreneurship.

Personal and corporate transformation must go hand in hand. Increasingly, people need to think for themselves and make choices. Many intending entrepreneurs require new skills and knowledge, and specialist support. Many traditional management tools and techniques are simply not appropriate for those who seek both business success and personal fulfillment.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and new corporate ventures are the primary source of tomorrow’s work opportunities. In recent years governments and corporate leaders around the world have put a higher priority upon enterprise and entrepreneurship. The aspiration is clear. However, many people lack the competence and experience either to become entrepreneurs, or to manage corporate relationships with them.

Enterprise needs its own entrepreneurs. Slimmed-down organizations require the services of counsellors with the experience, sensitivity and intuition to help others to become successful entrepreneurs, while the resulting ventures will need learning and enterprise support services at various points in the enterprise life cycle.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Assessing Current Human Resources


Assessing current human resources begins by developing a profile of the organization’s current employees. This is an internal analysis that includes information about the workers and the skills they currently possess. In an era of sophisticated computer systems, it is not too difficult for most organizations to generate an effective and detailed human resources inventory report. The input to this report would be derived from forms completed by employees and then checked by supervisors. Such reports would include a complete list of all employees by name, education, training, prior employment, current position, performance ratings, salary level, languages spoken, capabilities, and specialized skills. For example, if internal translators were needed for suppliers, or employee assistance, a contact list could be developed.

 From a planning viewpoint, this input is valuable in determining what skills are currently available in the organization. The inventory serves as a guide for supporting new organizational pursuits or in altering the organization’s strategic direction. This report also has value in other HRM activities, such as selecting individuals for training and development, promotion, and transfers. The completed profile of the human resources inventory can also provide crucial information for identifying current or future threats to the organization’s ability to successfully meets its goals. For example, the organization can use the information from the inventory to identify specific variables that may have a particular relationship to training needs, productivity improvements, and succession planning. A characteristic like technical obsolescence, or workers, who are not trained to function with new computer requirements, can, if it begins to permeate the entire organization, adversely affect the organization’s performance.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight